Author James Howard Kunstler is one of the most perceptive observers of the urban condition on the planet. His books The Geography of Nowhere, Home from Nowhere and The City In Mind contain the most thought-provoking writing about contemporary architecture and urbanism since Tom Wolfe’s From Bauhaus to Our House, in my opinion.
Kunstler’s brash ex-Manhattanite take on the pitfalls of post-WWII suburbia and the emptiness of modernist architecture is vital, refreshing, funny, honest, and necessary. More than anything, his presentation at the 2005 TED conference (video linked above) served as inspiration for us to take action in our own neighborhood.
He’s got a TypePad blog, and there’s a diverse collection of broadsides, architectural criticisms, paintings, photos of the ‘Eyesore of the Month’, and a newsletter about his adopted town of Saratoga Springs, NY at his lo-tech but appealing website, www.kunstler.com. His next book is a novel set in the post-oil Northeast, entitled “World Made By Hand,” due out from the Atlantic Press in March 2008.